Apple Inc. (AAPL) stock has been riding on the iPhone for years now, and analysts are beginning to stop seeing the company and its products as innovative and start seeing them as just good enough to hold up the stock.
Thursday as the company unveils the new MacBook Pro, drawing comparisons with the 15-year old PowerBook in the process, it’s starting to look a little less shiny next to the new Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Surface Studio.
Apple stock is starting to look less shiny too as investors may be starting to question whether the brainwashed masses will continue to prefer iPhones and MacBooks over other products.
Apple Stock’s Future Hangs on Faith
Finding analysts who will openly admit to being bearish on Apple stock is like looking for a needle in a haystack, but BGC analyst Colin Gillis fits the bill. He is one of the few with a ‘Sell’ rating on the stock and a bearish price target of $85 per share. The company picked up a downgrade on Wednesday following its last earnings report, even as other firms raised their price targets.
However, CNBC’s Jim Cramer called out the analysts who participated in Apple’s earnings call for what he said looked like a lack of faith in the company and CEO Tim Cook.
In his follow-up report to investors after the iPhone maker’s earnings release, Gills queried: “How much faith do you have that unannounced products will drive revenue growth?”
He went on to list several things about the Apple story that he now questions.
For example, the company’s China sales plunged again during the September quarter, leaving him wondering whether there will ever be a recovery there.
Also India is seen as a backup for China, but seeing as China isn’t embracing Apple anymore, India might not either. Gillis also questions whether the surge in demand for next year’s tenth anniversary iPhone will actually occur as so many are expecting.
There’s even more to Gillis’s concerns…
The analyst also doubts Apple management’s assertion that the services business will blossom into a huge driver for future results. The segment delivered $6.3 billion in revenue in the September quarter for a 24% growth rate, but he believes the company is lagging in important product areas such as artificial intelligence and VR/ AR.
Further, he questions whether the share buyback program that has been fueled by debt truly benefitted the company’s long-term outlook.
He also noted that the company’s research and development spending has tripled in the last five years, saying that it’s because “there are magical products coming.”
However, he doesn’t see any big catalysts on the horizon such as some type of virtual reality device.
He called the new Macs that were unveiled today “a small blip to results” and warned that demand for the iPhone 7 may stall out earlier in the cycle than demand for previous models did.
UBS Group AG (USA) (UBS) analyst Steven Milunovich, who has a ‘Buy’ rating and $127 price target on AAPL stock, said in his own report that the company’s 10-K filing reveals that demand is on track. He feels that the results, demand and margins are “not great but probably good enough.”
Nomura Holdings, Inc. (ADR) (NMR) analyst Jeffrey Kvaal seems much more convinced that iPhone demand is where it needs to be, but he agrees that the margins leave much to be desired. The company guided for a margin of 38% to 38.5% and revenue of $76 billion to $78 billion for the December quarter.
He does buy management’s comments about the importance of services revenue.
Shares of Apple slid all day Thursday, ending down just under 1% at $114.27 at the closing bell.
The post Apple Inc. (AAPL) Stock Slides Again After Mac Event; Some Settle For “Good Enough” appeared first on ValueWalk.
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